Dear friend,

I recently had the opportunity to travel to Kerala, a state within India, located on the Malabar Coast. While there, I visited a bird sanctuary in the backwaters of Alleppey, and had long conversations with local friends and their families about the most recent worker strike over filter coffee. Kerala has a rich history of international solidarity; cooperative movement in close partnership with the labor movement  and public action; and is currently the only state in India where the Left holds power. In recent years, far-right shifts in national government have led to a deepening agrarian crisisrepressive labor policies that further erode workers’ rights, and repeated failure to uphold commitments made to farm workers. Although not without its challenges, the people of Kerala have remained committed to resisting oppressive systems of work rooted in neoliberalism and corporate (neo)colonialism.

As a long-time economic justice organizer and advocate, as well as the Director of Neighborhood Funders Group’s Funders for a Just Economy (FJE) program, I am so inspired by workers across the world. My passion for building participatory models for building collective power led me to the work I currently lead at NFG. FJE organizes funders to support economic and worker justice campaigns that improve worker health and safety, job quality, and ensure workers and their communities can build power. During my first year at NFG, I have celebrated historic wins for workers, and I'm thrilled to invite funders to the 2024 Network Strategy Session “Interlocking Issues of Precarious Work” March 26-28 from 9:30am-12:30pm PT/12:30pm-3:30pm ET!

Each year, FJE hosts this event as an opportunity to learn from movement leaders on a specific theme or issue related to economic justice and worker power. We bring funders into a virtual community building, co-learning, and strategy space that is grounded in a collective understanding of how racial capitalism, white supremacy, and corporate power impacts our laws and policies, and how the philanthropic community can show up in partnership with transformative movements.

This year, we will explore the theme of precarious work — a type of work that is poorly paid, unprotected, and insecure; and its relentless and systemic expansion is undermining the bargaining power and the conditions of all workers. Funders will have the opportunity to hear directly from leaders of vital campaigns currently underpinning the labor movement in the US, such as the Customers Delivering Justice campaign and the recent passage of the Temp Worker Fairness and Safety Act (TWFSA). Over these three days, participants can expect to:

  • Learn how labor flexibilization and precarity impacts all workers,

  • Find out how workers are fighting back and are winning historic regulations in local and state levels,

  • And discuss how we can align our funding practices with the visions and aspirations of movement partners.

Speaker graphic including headshots for Leanne Sajor, Neda Said, Munira Edens, Reynalda Cruz, Lorraine Sands, Ligia Guallpa, Lili Farhang, Rosalia Tenorio.

Day 1 will cover the ongoing exploitation of temporary workers. The day will open with a Worker Listening session where participants will hear workers describe their experiences in the temp industry. This will be followed by a discussion with place-based and national advocates engaged in ongoing efforts to expose the disparate impact temp staffing has on workers and communities of color, strengthen enforcement, and pass legislation to protect temp workers’ rights.

Following the history of gig work and diminishing worker protections on the job, Day 2 will focus on how whole industries are shifting and adopting “gig work” (W2 and 1099) to increase profits and lockout more and more workers from benefits, quality jobs, and economic security, and how workers are impacted by these industry shifts. This year’s strategy session will close with the history of labor conditions in the context of racial capitalism. Please note: Days 1 and 2 will close with small group discussion for funders only; all of day 3 will be a funders only space.

Speaker graphic including headshots for Lauren Jacobs, Veronica Avila, Saqib Bhatti, Holly Bartling, Maritza Silva Farrell, Adrian Haro, Marjona Jones.

Whether you're new to the NFG community, a long-time economic justice funder, or a grantmaker looking to deepen your impact, we welcome your attendance at this year's Network Strategy Session. Right now, workers and labor leaders are facing acute backlash from powerful corporations and their financial backers. To help sustain their growing momentum and solidarity across social justice movements, philanthropy must meet this moment by moving resources with trust and abundance. Both at this event and in our future programming, FJE provides a political home for funders to learn and strategize together to dismantle racial capitalism within our sector and society. I encourage you to join NFG’s network of funders, and help us partner with movement leaders building a future that ensures good jobs for all workers, and an economy that enables dignified lives for all people.

In solidarity,
Leanne Sajor

ICYMI Neighborhood Funders Group is unionizing! NFG has a deep belief in the power of collective bargaining for all workers, and we see the process towards our first Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) as a way to further democratize our workplace. Bargaining towards a first CBA gives us the opportunity to dig deeper into actualizing our values as an organization of people who matter and who care deeply about social justice. We hope it also allows us to be in right relationship with one another and with the communities that philanthropy seeks to support. As our team moves through this process toward a ratified contract, we lean on the foundation we have built at NFG that is marked by shared trust, collective care, transparency, and accountability.

To learn more about how funders can support movement and social justice organizations that are engaged in unionization efforts and collective bargaining, watch this recording of a plenary conversation between Sarita Gupta (Ford Foundation), Maurice Mitchell (Working Families Party), Amy Smoucha (Listening Tree Consulting, LLC), and Nicole Washington (NFG’s Amplify Fund) featured at NFG’s 2023 National Convening. And stay tuned for future updates about NFG’s union!